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Forza Horizon announced with new trailer: 'This is not Forza Motorsport 5'

Forza Horizon releases in 2012 from developer Playground Games.

If you’re a fervent fan of Microsoft’s exclusive racers, that last sentence will shock you for several reasons. First… Forza “Horizon”? As the title suggests, this is not Forza Motorsport 5, the next official entry in the series, but an offshoot or companion title of some kind. Exactly what kind is still unknown at this stage, as the announcement trailer is the very definition of vague.

The second surprise is the release date. Since the franchise debuted in 2005, it’s followed a predictable schedule of one new game every two years: Forza 2 in 2007, Forza 3 in 2009 and Forza 4 in 2011. How is developer Turn 10 readying Horizon for this year if they’re also working on Forza 5 for next year?

Easy. Forza Horizon is the first creation of newly formed British developer Playground Games and not from Turn 10 at all, similar to how Black Ops and World at War are from Treyarch and not original Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward. While that annual switch has always seemed like something publisher Activision forces on the shooter franchise for business purposes, Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt sounded positive about the Forza handoff at a recent Microsoft event, referring to Playground Games as a “super group” of racing experts culled from recently closed companies known for success in the genre, like Bizarre Creations and Black Rock.

But no – we can read your mind on this one – Forza Horizon isn’t the spiritual continuation of Bizarre’s flagship racing series, Project Gotham Racing. Greenawalt insists it’s still Forza, just not the same Forza a numbered installment would imply.

Also revealed on the Forza front today? The long-awaited return of Porsche vehicles to the series, via expansion DLC arriving in May. That’s the new Porsche 911 pictured above.

Did you spot any hints at Forza Horizon’s direction in the trailer above? Are you excited for an extra entry, or worried Microsoft will spread the series too thinly? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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10 comments

  • THEBIGJ3 - March 6, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    The Forza games are too long for my lifestyle and that's the only reason I've been put off by them previously. However, an arcade/N4S type game would be ideal for me, really looking forward to how this will turn out....
  • IceBlueKirby - March 5, 2012 8:27 p.m.

    At this point it looks like it might be a more arcade style racing game, which would be great. Even if that's not the case I'm still looking forward to it.
  • DaveGoose - March 5, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    I'm getting a Need for Speed vibe...
  • D0CCON - March 5, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    As long as its very noticeably different from the numbered titles, I'm fine. A sim racer like Forza does NOT need to be annualized with essentially the same thing every year.
  • Trilby - March 5, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    It looks like a Cannonball Run style at the beginning, but I saw some drift cars from the Formula D motorsports series.
  • MasterBhater - March 5, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    The biggest news from this one was that Playground Games is a "Super Group" of devs that lost their jobs, like Black Rock and Bizarre Creations. After hearing that, I have complete confidence in this game
  • RareHero - March 5, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Exactly. The game's direction looks strange, but there's no doubt in my mind that if anyone can pull it off it's the guys behind PGR, Colin McRae, Toca, Burnout, and to a lesser extent Split/Second. Reminds me of Sega Racing Studio. It's too bad they didn't last, Revo was a great first effort.
  • tiben36 - March 5, 2012 1:26 p.m.

    colin mcrae is from codemaster, burnout from criterion and EA
  • JokerJ0613 - March 5, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    At first I was like, "Those are the graphics?!" Oh, wait.
  • wingsdjy - March 5, 2012 6:44 a.m.

    So it's racing in the sunlight, with a hottie in a bikini? Outrun?

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